Hugging became legal on May 17th. But what happens to those of us who have never liked hugs, or are uncomfortable at this idea?
I feel guilty admitting this, but I have loved this no hug, no touch lockdown rule. Luckily I live with my parents at the moment, so I have the option to hug them if I want to, but this past year has made me realise how much I enjoy living with no pressure to hug my friends and relatives. Am I cold-hearted?
No. I am not cold-hearted. I miss my friends and family dearly, and spending time with them inside is an exciting and happy prospect. However, I don’t care about the hugs if I can already see them inside. And, honestly, I am baffled that this is a ‘rule’ the government have produced. Why risk the sacrifices everyone has made over the past 14 months when there are new variants and a lot of the adult population still not vaccinated?
I do get it to an extent. I understand those who live alone, or have been separated from their partners for over a year, will relish this opportunity. But for me it is coming too early for my comfort. I won’t be able to get the first dose of the vaccine until sometime in July or August, and I am not at all ready to sacrifice my covid-free status for a hug, even if it’s legal.
As someone with anxiety, the routine of lockdown is one I am comfortable with. My brain now (annoyingly) associates people with danger, and I’m worried my friends and family will not understand this. Just because they are ready to hug me does not mean I am ready to hug them – but this sounds selfish of me.
And I guess to an extent this is a selfish wish of mine. I feel like I sacrified a lot of my socialising opportunities over the past year to protect my elderly relatives, who are now not panicked about catching covid. But guess what? I still am. Just because I am at the bottom of the vaccine list does not mean I am comfortable giving up the progress we have made in lockdown.
Covid aside, I still am not a hugger. I’d much rather be sat across from a table from one of my friends than snuggled up on the sofa. I love my personal space – and these past 14 months have just increased this love. I do feel guilty, because I know there are some people who will be wanting to hug me. If we are to both get negative tests for covid and hug safely, knowing it is impossible to transmit to each other, this is fine – but I still won’t be making the first move.
Finally, and most importantly, I also haven’t had a cold since March 2020. Am I about to subject my immune system to the possibilities of illness for a hug? Probably not.
Image courtesy of Marco Bianchetti.